Gaming with Kids


Keep in mind that video games are such a major part of the culture that many of her friends will play them as she grows up, so she will likely gravitate towards them.

I actually eased back on the video games for my son because I was afraid I introduced them too early and didn’t want him too interested in them before he had even learned important things, like how to read. Now, though, he’s running around the neighborhood with his friends and the all have video games so sometimes he plays. I’m actually loading up on multiplayer games to encourage him and his friends to hang out at our house sometimes.


4 year old was out at a birthday party this afternoon, so it was the 6 year old and I. Post bike riding, backyardosense, and coloring…

Couldn’t take another damn game of Candyland. Set the stage with, “Want to play a grown-up game?” Eyes light up… cue Ticket to Ride. Thankfully, the 10th Anniversary Edition, so big train pieces, big board, etc.

Halfway through: “I don’t understand this.” Says the girl whooping me by about 40 points. I like to think I’d have won in the end, since she didn’t really grasp the routes or fuckery (that I avoided in the interest of continued gaming sessions) aspects, but it was definitely a nice intro to an actual board game (yup, fuck you Cha-Cha-Chihuahua) and some quality time with the kid. Fantastic afternoon all in all.

And for those of you blessedly unfamiliarized…

ETA: the mere phrase “peppy perritos” made me down my Ardbeg Corryvrecken in nearly one shot…

The Actual Table

Ticket to Ride First Journey is a pretty big hit with my wife (minor miracle) and 8-year-old.

The 4-year-old, however, gets pissed when he can’t connect “Leprechaun land” (Dublin) to “Bull land” (Madrid).

I’ve seen this at Target, so it could be a worthwhile pickup.


Love a good top list, but perhaps some inspiration for those with smaller kids?


The earliest game I’d consider is Go Away, Monster!, which is playable for many kids even before they turn two and which, with very simple components, does a ton a cool stuff. Player’s try to match shapes by feel and sight, practice taking control of their fears, and there’s a rules variant (might even be the default) in which, if you get something you don’t need, you share it with someone who does. I love this as a first game.

The first co-op I played with my kids (I think when they were two) was Max. They liked it, but it was boring for me, I never liked the aesthetics of it, and they didn’t seem to connect with even the limited strategy of it very well (there’s a degree of don’t-eat-the-marshmallow to holding off on saving the cutest animal right away in order to try and save them all which just never seemed age-appropriate). Still, it was a game they could play and comprehend the rules, so I was very grateful for it at the time.


We play Hopple Popple with the same house-rule with my 2 year-old. Colors and shapes, plus the concept of boards one has to fill. It’s been a solid first game. But I’m going to order Go Away Monster today : )


It’s a good list. I like playing the co-op games because there’s fewer hard feelings.

From the ones listed, we have Hoot Owl Hoot and Outfoxed. I vastly prefer Outfoxed because it has simple but meaningful choices (flip a suspect or move to a clue), and it teaches logic. After just a few games, my then 7-yo had the logic rules to eliminate or keep suspects down.

Hoot Owl Hoot is fine, but there are better options. The only choice is which owl to move, and there’s a clear optimal strategy (move the furthest one back).

Both my kids love Ghost Fighting’ Treasure Hunters, but that one skews a little older because it’s tuned to be harder to win.